The Root of the Behavior
In the wild, dogs had to hunt for their food to ensure their survival and the survival of their young. They would never pass up the opportunity to kill and eat a deer simply because they were sick of deer meat and were suddenly craving some fox instead. Dogs ate what they could kill or happened to find. Preference never entered the equation. Wild dogs also knew what it meant to experience hunger. At times, these dogs would have to go longer than is preferable between meals. When they were able to find a plentiful food source, they were grateful for it and ate their fill. It didn't matter what it was. Hunger and a powerful instinct to survive compelled them to not question what was available but to simply enjoy the procured sustenance. So, what's up with our pampered pooches? If wild dogs ate whatever was accessible to them, why is Fido holding out for something different? The truth is, Fido is a highly intelligent being. He knows that him skipping a meal hurts you more than it hurts him. And when you feel upset by his refusal to eat, you resort to things you might not normally consider, such as dispensing extra yummy treats or even allowing Fido to enjoy some of the tasty morsels normally reserved for YOUR food.
Encouraging the Behavior
In recent years, home cooked and raw diets have become increasingly popular options for feeding our pets. Care must be taken to ensure that either of these approaches is completely nutritionally balanced; otherwise, the food intended to benefit Fido's health might actually make him very ill. Conversely, food prepared for human consumption might be sound for us to enjoy, but it most likely lacks the vitamins and nutrients necessary to fuel and maintain a healthy canine body. Still, it's hard to for us to resist slipping a little piece of chicken into Fido's bowl for a "treat" and when Fido is perched in front of you in his very best sit and giving you his puppy dog eyes, it is incredibly difficult to deny him the extra little snack he so desperately wants. The problem is, Fido soon learns how to manipulate you into giving him what he wants, and what he wants may not be what he needs or what is best for him. Feeding your dog table scraps can lead to obesity. Canine obesity is far more serious than appearance alone. Overweight pets are at a much higher risk for joint-related injuries and illnesses. The excess weight also puts great strain on the heart and lungs and if not properly addressed can lead to premature death.